Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Weed Fairy Came To My House

The other day, I got up at 8 and my 14 year old, JBug, was already up. Apparently, she had been up for quite a while. She had fed the kids breakfast, cleaned the bathrooms and loaded the dishwasher. But that wasn't the half of it.

She also had cleared one of the flowerbeds of the weeds that were residing there.

Why? Just because. She felt it would be helpful if she got up to do these things. I have no idea why, but I am not complaining!

We found out because the alarm she had set for her little sister played the buzzer instead of music. This made JBean upset, and one of the things she does when is upset is lie in bed and whine. It is very annoying, and no one can sleep through it. So, J arose, like a bear through the woods. He was very upset and wanted to know why Jbug wasn't responding to her little sister's calls to her. J thought she was beng teenagery and ignoring her poor little sister. But no, it turns out she was outside.

Pulling weeds. Who knows what lurks in the deep recesses of a teenager's brain? Why did she choose to do this? Probably to keep me off balance!

In all seriousness, she is a great help. I wish I could clone her. But then I would have to feed more kids! I know she helps around the house more readily than I did at her age. I like to think it is because we have such a good relationship being as I am so cool and all. That's right, I can make anything all about me, just give me time.

T, who hopes more fairies come to visit

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Now I Can Get That Boob Job

This book is preparing to be released next month. And we wonder why girls' self-esteem is in the toilet? If mommy ain't happy with herself, how can she expect her daughter to be happy with what she is? It was written by a plastic surgeon to help parents explain why mother's face and body have changed drastically and why the child should nor fear that body snatchers have come in the night, replacing Mommy with a Desperate Housewife. This trend scares me. Why can't we all just age, if not gracefully, at least, with aplomb?

T, who thinks wrinkles give her Character

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Friday, April 25, 2008

On Ducks, Marriage & Autism (not necessarily in that order)

"So what is the rate?" She inclined her head towards me. I swallowed, stalling because I didn't know. I knew it was high. I looked at her and said, "Not sure, but I know it is higher than the national average. That's just over 50% now." So I decided to come home and google up some actual figures. There is no question that raising a child with autism, even high-functioning autism, is a challenge. It is a challenge financially, emotionally, spiritually and attitudinally. It is an entire paradigm shift. Like living with a duck who wants grapes...all the time. It isn't hard to feel at your wits' end ..often. Many times J comes home and I just have nothing else to give. I am spent. Absolutely worn out, and not able to give to one more person. And who gets the short end of the stick? You guessed it: J does. And yet he rarely complains.

As I write this, he has sallied-forth on a mission of mercy. Yes, the kids are tucked into their beds, and he has gone to procure Starbucks mocha, the nectar of the gods. He knows foreplay. Or maybe he just knows how to keep me sane. Since life can

often be a war zone, and I, crawling over enemy lines without hesitation (okay, maybe there is a little hesitation) a medic on duty is necessary. That's where J comes in. I guess it works because we take care of each other. We get along well, and well, we don't really have to work at it. Which is good, because there isn't much time to work on much of anything in this house, not the way the littles behave. We can't take on anymore.

There is a reason we have cats. Cats are independent, don't mind if they aren't the center of attention and often prefer not to be. We don't have a dog, though I would love one, and maybe someday soon, we may take the plunge. But I don't have the time to devote to puppy training and walking and just being generally slobbered over and followed around. I get that enough. We would probably kill a fish, forgetting to feed it. And you don't want to see my yard. When we moved back home after the fire, we decided to do our own gardening. But me, in my infinite wisdom decided that we would do the Green Thing and not use poison on the lawn to kill the weeds. And, did I mention that I now use a rotary mower to save the environment? Unfortunately, it is now my lawn that needs salvation.

Lacking time, I haven't done the requisite internet search for nematodes and other magic organic fixes to protect my lawn from the weedie beasties. Consequently, my lawn, which of course, someone forgot to water, is now brown with green things bobbing in not quite a sea of crabgrass. We do manage to get it somewhat mowed, but it seems to be a losing battle. The flowerbeds are overgrown, and all good intentions to clear them and plant something gave way to a brochure left on our front stoop about code enforcement and happy neighbors. We don't know which one of the wonderful residents of our 'hood left it for us, but there it is.

And my answer? You try mowing the lawn when you have a 6 yr old in the middle of a screaming fit for who knows the reason (sometimes, there are no reasons) and a 9 yr old being defiant and refusing to do anything except repeat, "Can I have a cookie? Can I have a cookie? Can I have a cookie?" And this after being told, as I am wont to do: "Question asked and answered," ad nauseum. And amidst this, I will take time to mow the lawn? What planet does the anal neighbor with the perfect yard and the perfect teens (only they aren't because I see them on the corner) who mows his lawn and trims his plants nearly every day...what planet is he from?

So, there is little time left to work on things like marriages, or dinner reservations or breathing. So it is a very good thing that my marriage is usually so easy. We figure we survived the fire, when the house was completely smoked out, everything was destroyed and we had nothing but each other. We survived the insurance settlement and the rebuilding process and the redecorating and even the relocating. Autism after that? Cake.

In any case, I came home and found the figures. According to a few online sources, it is over 80%. Dr. Phil even pegged the rate at 86% if you can believe it. 86% of marriages amongst couples who have a child with autism end in divorce. So, since we have two children, does that make our rate higher? In fact, statistically, we aren't married at all! Yay, we are living in sin, and have been for almost 18 years! (Then why aren't we having more fun?)

T, who feels very lucky

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

All My Bags Are Packed...

13 Places I Have Been, or Wish I Could Go (you figure out which is which)

  • 1. San Francisco. Love the vibe there, so funky and open.
  • 2. Ireland. Maiden name is Irish and there is a reason I love Guinness.
  • 3. France. The places that Anthony Bordain goes on No Reservations. I am not a tourist person, I want to experience the local flavor.
  • 4. Disney World. Just to say I did.
  • 5. England. I love me some accent!
  • 6. Washington D.C. So much to see, so little time.
  • 7. Sardinia. Have you seen the color of the water?
  • 8. Hawaaii. Duh!
  • 9. Greece. History is soooo cool.
  • 10.Africa.Because really, doesn't everyone want to see a lion?
  • 12.Canada. I know, eh.
  • 13.Egypt. The library of Alexandria. Because I love libraries.
  • Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

    The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

    T, who wants to be anywhere but here

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    SAY WHAT??

    This is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time. Yeah, so it is old, I am behind in my reading, so sue me.

    Stupid Decisions Made When Drinking

    T, who laughed so hard I snorted


    Geeks of a Feather

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

    T, who knows it's genetic

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    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Happy Earth Day!

    Another reason I love to homeschool: field trips! We celebrated Earth Day : the kids and I went to a local organic farm and picked strawberries! It was so much fun. When I first started homeschooling, we went on this field trip. That was almost 3 years ago. At that point, it was just my youngest two who went. This time, my oldest went, too.

    We took a ride in a wagon pulled by a tractor through the fields. We tried the best organic vegetables. Did you know that fresh broccoli is really sweet? And it is huge, too! The kids also tried maui onions and carrots and lettuce, and of course...strawberries!

    Now we have 4 cartons of strawberries to eat. Too bad none of us actually like them! (kidding, we will make short work of them, I am sure!)

    The funny thing is, I grew up in the Salinas Valley. Migrant workers get paid to pick berries. It is hard work, and not at all glamorous. And here? We spend money to bend over in the hot sun, to stand in mud and fill those baskets. Life is weird sometimes.

    I just like the idea of my kids understanding where food actually comes from. Because food doesn't just materialize in the grocery store. It is good for them to see the origin. And I learned something, too. I never knew that broccoli was so large!

    T, who is amazed that in Southern CA you PAY to pick strawberries

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    Monday, April 21, 2008

    One More Reason I Homeschool

    Apparently a 13 year old was busted for purposely putting peanut butter cookie crumbs into a classmate's lunchbox. The classmate was life-threateningly allergic.

    Can You Believe This?

    T, who never ceases to be amazed

    Saturday, April 19, 2008

    Back again and this time for good?

    I finally got back in! The negative side of tech...too many accounts, too many email addresses and I was locked out of my blog. Of course, after the fire, I didn't much feel like keeping it up. It has been a year since my last post, and I am ready now to begin anew. Besides, I am procrastinating about cleaning house.

    We have settled completely with the insurance company, and while it wasn't an easy process, or a painless one, it is finally over. We ended up with a brand new rebuilt house, brand new furniture, brand new everything. And we are getting back to normal now. We moved back home in July of 2007, and we are truly home.

    I have two suggestions for anyone who is worried about a fire happening to them. First of all, make sure to have an item by item inventory done and available for your home. Keep receipts of all big purchases, and store off-site. Back up all data and again, store off site. Keep birth certs and other important things guessed it, off-site. This is to prevent insurance messes, when they say you didn't have a $1000 bed, and how do they know it was truly what you said it was??

    My other suggestion? Hire a public adjuster. Yes, I know, you think they are worse than those ambulance-chasing lawyers that advertise on late night tv, but they have some advantages you do not. First of all, they know the system, you do not. Insurance is complicated, and confusing; they design it that way. Secondly, adjusters work for a portion of the settlement. So, they don't get paid if you don't. And it is to their best interest to get the most for you they can, so they get paid more. Throughout the process, they probably won't do things as quickly as you want them to, or call you back as often, but in the end, it works out. As I said, we have our house rebuilt, with many upgrades. Some we paid for on our own, some were paid for by insurance. We have all brand new furniture, clothing, toys, belongings, everything. It is a heck of a way to purge, though. Not what I would suggest.

    Beyond all of this, we are fine. We emerged stronger, wiser and believe it or not, better off for the tragedy. I will always miss my cats. But we worked so hard to make decisions for a home we could be comfortable with, and it really paid off.

    I hope you never go through this, Internet. But if you do, know that I understand, and would love to help with what I have learned. In the next weeks, I may post more about what I learned, and pictures, if I am ever able to upload them!

    T, who learned a lot through "trial by Fire"

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